Bouncing The Bearcats

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - A dominant defensive effort led UCF to a 64-44 American Athletic Conference victory over Cincinnati in CFE Arena on Tuesday evening.

"I thought this was a really big win for us," head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. "(Cincinnati) was No. 3 (in the conference standings). I always tell our team that we have to be the most dangerous team all the time. Tonight was a good win for us."

UCF (13-7, 3-4 The American) limited Cincinnati (14-6, 5-2 The American) to just six points in the fourth quarter, and held the Bearcats scoreless for the final 3:31. With Tuesday's win, the Knights split the season series with Cincinnati.

Cincinnati held five-point lead, 16-11, at the end of the first quarter, but UCF started the second quarter with a 9-0 run to take a 20-16 advantage. The teams played back-and-forth for most of the second frame before freshman Korneila Wright hit a step through jumper at the buzzer to give UCF a 28-27 edge at halftime.

Junior Aliyah Gregory sank four of her 12 free throws in the last 1:14 of the third quarter to put the home team ahead 44-38 heading into the final 10 minutes of the game. The Knights relied on their defense down the stretch to collect their largest conference win of the season. The last time UCF posted a 20-point victory in The American came at Cincinnati, when the Knights earned an 80-60 win on Jan. 16, 2016.

For the second straight game, Aliyah Gregory led the Knights in scoring - tallying 22 points - and added six rebounds and a steal. Senior Zykira Lewis chipped in 15 points and swiped a game-high three steals.

Redshirt senior Joslyn Massey pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end. Five of sophomore Tolulope Omokore's seven boards came on the offensive glass. Sophomore Ashley Polacek dished out three assists and did not commit a turnover in 17 minutes of action.

Great Gregory
* Junior Aliyah Gregory scored 22 points in the win, marking her second straight 20-point performance.
* The Tampa, Fla., native has now scored in double figures 14 times this season, and has reached the 20-point mark six times in her career.
* Gregory set a career-best from the free throw line, hitting all 12 of her attempts. Her previous best was seven made shots at the charity stripe.

Big Boards
* UCF outrebounded Cincinnati 40-19, and collected 17 offensive boards on the night.
* The Black and Gold turned those rebounds into points, scoring 14 second chance points.
* Eight Knights grabbed two or more boards in the win, with five recording offensive rebounds.
* Cincinnati's 19 rebounds marks its lowest output of the season, and the second-fewest boards allowed by the Knights this season. UCF held FIU to just 15 boards in the season opener on Nov. 11.

Next up, UCF hits the road for a contest at Memphis on Saturday. The Knights face the Tigers at 11 a.m. CT/noon ET.

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